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CDPB to participate in the World Science Forum 2017

Thanks to the invitation from the Global Thinkers Forum, the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building is delighted to partner with the WANA Institute and host the session at the World Science Forum in Jordan.

World Science Forum 2O17 theme is Science for Peace. It will engage the world of science and redefine the global potential of scientific communities and policymakers to bring real change to our interlinked societies.

CDPB is delighted to co-curate and participate in the Emerging Concerns in Managing Radicalisation among Youth session.

Current geo-political challenges in the Middle East impact how researchers and policy makers can manage radicalisation among youth. New forms of extremism are likely to re-emerge despite the military defeat of Daesh, particularly that the political and socio-economic structures and ideologies that contributed to the phenomenon remain intact in the region. Recent developments in Europe also point to an increase in radical lone wolves compared to earlier threats of organised armed groups. These challenges raise important question into best approaches to manage radicalisation as a spiritual-ideological quest, and as a response to structural frustrations.

This session draws on multi-disciplinary research in Europe and the Middle East with insight from field research with fighters and returnees to addresses crucial questions like:

• How does the spiritual factor enhance or undermine CVE efforts? How the spiritual interacts with the structural in understanding radicalisation and necessary CVE efforts?
• How can policy makers and CVE stakeholders introduce behavioural and ideological transformations that can delegitimise extremist ideologies?
• What are the prospects and challenges for reintegrating returnees in local communities with the current legal and communal infrastructure?
• How can current knowledge and practices on CVE be revised and re-designed for efficient preventive CVE measures?

Dr Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck, El Erian Fellow, The Carnegie Middle East Center (CMEC), Beirut, will moderate the panel discussion.

Speakers:

Dr Neven Bondokji, West Asia North Africa Institute
Eva Grosman, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building
Professor Mike Hardy, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University
Amin Nehme, Lebanese Development Network

The session will take place on Friday, November 10 at 11.30am.

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Lord Alderdice on Fundamentalism, Radicalization and Terrorism

Fundamentalism, Radicalization and Terrorism. Part 1: terrorism as dissolution in a complex systems

In the first of two papers, Lord Alderdice draws on his personal experience of living and working in Northern Ireland and other countries that have suffered from terrorism, and describes from a psychoanalytic and systemic perspective the history of national, cultural and political conflicts which form the backdrop to the struggles against fundamentalism, radicalization and terrorism in current times. By examining and understanding the group dynamics and collective experiences of minority populations that have suffered generations of subjugation, humiliation and injustice at the hands of others, Lord Alderdice demonstrates how terrorism is not an individual but a group phenomenon and that any successful intervention aimed at reducing fundamentalism, radicalization and terrorism needs to identify and take into account the complex relational processes and experiences in all parties involved in the current global conflict.

Read more here: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/ErV56EkqdDk4Dxz6qgSJ/full

Fundamentalism, Radicalization and Terrorism. Part 2: fundamentalism, regression and repair

Prior to the watershed events of 11 September 2001, terrorism was generally seen simply as politically motivated, criminal violence. Since then the phenomena of religious fundamentalism, political radicalization and terrorism have become fused in the public mind, partly under the influence of the political and military reaction described as the ‘War on Terror’ and its successors. While there is clearly an important overlap in the religious thinking of some fundamentalists, the radical agenda of political Islamist groups and the violent activities of those who currently use the tactics of terrorism, these are not identical phenomena, and treating everyone who falls into one of these groups as the same as all the others has exacerbated rather than improved global security. In the second of two papers based on his work with terrorist organizations and areas of the world embroiled in entrenched conflict, Lord Alderdice develops a different approach informed by psychoanalytical principles and systems and complexity theories to clarify some of the boundaries and overlapping elements of these three phenomena. This approach not only provides a more evidence-based analysis, but also permits a more reflective and constructive response to these clear and present dangers.

Read more here: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/xuzAzxF76PDNaZcVACui/full

Peace and Beyond

CDPB to mark the 20th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in 2018

British Council in association with the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building will host a conference to mark the 20th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in April 2018. It will convene policy makers and peace practitioners from around the world to share reflections and case studies on building effective, inclusive and sustainable peace.

The series of plenary sessions, workshops, site visits and cultural events will create an open, inclusive and safe space for international dialogue to reflect upon the experience of the peace processes across the globe. The events will build on the Northern Ireland experience of and expertise in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. By marking the achievement of the multi-track work that led to the signing of the Agreement, the conference will provide opportunities for international dialogue to reflect on the experience of everyday peacebuilding.

The conference will also reflect on the contribution of partners such as the EU and the USA, as well as the role of Ireland and citizens across the island of Ireland in the achievement and continuation of peace.

The British Council will draw on its global network to bring practitioners, academics and policy makers to Northern Ireland to share lessons learnt from the different approaches in South Africa, Lebanon, Colombia and the Western Balkans. Bringing together political leaders, academics and community activists from around the world, we aim to engage a global audience in this vital dialogue, inspire innovative thinking and practice, and activate a new generation of peacebuilders globally.

Peace and Beyond is organised by the British Council in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, in association with the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building.

Further info on https://www.britishcouncil.org/peace-and-beyond

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Conor Houston to address the One Young World in Bogota

Conor Houston, Consultant with the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building will address the One Young World global youth summit taking place from 3 to 7 October in Bogota, Colombia.

The One Young World 2017 will bring together over 2000 young leaders from 190 countries around the world as well as international figures including Kofi Annan, Sir Bob Geldof and President Santos of Colombia.

Conor will speak as part of the ‘Peace & Reconciliation’ session and also deliver a workshop with Belfast entrepreneur Peter Edgar on ‘How to drive change: a lesson from Northern Ireland’.

The two young leaders will be appointed ‘One Young World Ambassadors’ at the event and are being supported by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and the British Council.

Peter Edgar said: “We are excited about the opportunity to tell the story of growing up in post-conflict Northern Ireland and will explore our work in setting up the Young Influencer network and other groups in connecting young people who are committed to Northern Ireland realising its potential through social and economic innovation.”

Conor will also launch his ‘Connected Citizens’ initiative at One Young World which seeks to connect world’s most passionate, dynamic and innovative citizens to inspire them to build a more peaceful, compassionate and resilient world.

Speaking ahead of the summit Conor said “our message is one of hope – to share the experience of Northern Ireland which is emerging from conflict towards peace. The challenge now is to ensure that everyone has the ability to benefit from the opportunities of peace.” He continued: “my generation has the responsibility to be the bridge-builders between peace and prosperity. I am proud to represent Northern Ireland on the global stage, proving we are able to lead and inspire the world.”

Navigating Brexit

CDPB are launching the next phase of their EU Debate NI programme ‘Navigating Brexit: A Roundtable Series’.

Over the next 6 months, EU Debate NI will host 5 Roundtable events which will provide a space for informed discussion focused on developing flexible and imaginative solutions for Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

These Roundtable events will involve key stakeholders from across the private, public and community sectors to encourage a solutions-orientated approach, informed by leading academic expertise.

These thematic events will focus on how we navigate the Brexit process, solutions for the post-Brexit UK-EU relationship and policy priorities in the context of devolution.

The Roundtable events will include:

• Trade: retaining and enhancing the competitiveness of NI businesses
• Ensuring co-operation and strategic partnerships on the environment and agri-food sectors
• Ensuring co-operation and strategic partnerships on the environment and energy sectors”
• Maintaining the Common Travel Area, citizenship & rights
• Building our knowledge economy: the Higher Education solution

Key Observers, including representatives on the NI Civil Service, UK Government and other relevant decision-makers will be invited to all events.

The launch ‘Navigating Brexit: A Roundtable Series’ will take place at the Ulster Bank Entrepreneurial Spark in Belfast, 8-9.30am on Thursday 7th September 2017.

This event will outline the Roundtable programme and include a briefing from Professor David Phinnemore on the current status of the Brexit negotiations.

‘Navigating Brexit: A Roundtable Series’ is supported by Diamond Recruitment.

To attend the launch on 7 September please register via: https://getinvited.to/cdpb/brexit/

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EU Debate NI: Professor David Phinnemore, QUB on EU/UK talks

Almost a year after the UK’s vote to leave the EU, Brexit negotiations began in Brussels on 19 June. Under the terms of Article 50, an initial agreement has to be reached by the end of March 2019. There is no deadline for a longer-term trade and partnership deal. Professor David Phinnemore explains what are the key issues and deadlines in the EU/UK talks and what is at stake for Northern Ireland.

 

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Scissor Sisters Ana Matronic set for TEDxStormont Women event later this year

Ana Matronic from the world-famous band Scissor Sisters is set to address TEDxStormont Women taking place at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on 2 November.

The Scissor Sisters frontwoman and robot obsessive, Ana Matronic has written about her love of robotics in her book ‘Robot Takeover’ which looks at 100 of the most iconic robots from popular culture. The book also explores robots in music, art and fashion.

The third in the series of TEDxStormont Women events is organized and curated by CDPB’s CEO Eva Grosman. The theme this year is ‘Bridges’ and will bring some of the high profile speakers from varied backgrounds such as journalism, music, business and the arts to Belfast for the nearly sold out event. 12 speakers in total are lined up to take part with over 250 guests expected to attend on the evening.

Standing on the iconic red dot, speakers will have 12 minutes or less to share their ideas about the ways in which we build bridges, traverse them, and sometimes even burn them, for better or worse.

Other speakers announced so far include:

  • Elizabeth Filippouli, Founder & CEO, Global Thinkers Forum
  • June Burgess, Property developer, leadership coach and international equestrian
  • Maxine Mawhinney, International journalist, and broadcaster
  • Jayne Gallagher, Managing Director, Legal-Island
  • Rosemary Jenkinson, Writer, artist-in-residence, Lyric Belfast
  • Clare Mulley, Award-winning author, historian of women and war
  • Vanessa Woolf, Professional storyteller
  • Lyra McKee, Freelance journalist, writer, editor
  • Naomh McElhatton, Digital educator
  • The event will be compered by former broadcaster Sarah Travers.

    The event, which is locally and independently organised, brings the TEDx brand back to the iconic Stormont. Started as a four-day conference in California in 1984, TED and the TEDx programme has grown to support world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives.

    Tickets can be purchased at http://www.tedxstormont.com/ and further updates can be found on Twitter @TEDxStormont.

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    Crans Montana Forum: Changes, Populist Upheavals and the World of Tomorrow

    On the occasion of the Crans Montana Forum’s 28th Annual Session, a Special Programme of the New Leaders for Tomorrow took place in Barcelona (Spain) on July 6th, 2017.

    CDPB Chief Executive Eva Grosman spoke at the special session on “Changes, Populist Upheavals and the World of Tomorrow”. Among the topics addressed were the European Union, the Brexit and the Turkish Situation as well as the first few months of the American Presidency.

    The Crans Montana Forum is a Swiss Non-Governmental International Organization established in 1986. Its oldest Forums are held each year in Crans-Montana (CH-VS) and Geneva (CH-GE). The Forum works with major international organisations, governments, businesses and NGOs.

    The Crans Montana Forum works to build a “more humane and impartial world” and encourages international cooperation and growth. It also works to promote best practices and to ensure a permanent dialogue between high-level stakeholders.

    The first annual Crans Montana Forum, in 1990, was dedicated to political and economic reconstruction in a Europe then open in the aftermath of the Cold War. The various Forums organised worldwide (Brussels, Geneva, Rabat, Dakhla, Vienna, Crans-Montana, Bucharest, Baku, Zagreb, Roma, Sarajevo, Tirana, Athens, Malta, Bahrain) represent exceptional opportunities for businesses and government officials to develop and strengthen relationships with partners across the globe.

    More information at: http://www.cmf.ch

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    Lord Alderdice: Change and Challenge

    Democracy_and_Peace_Annual2017-coverChairman’s Remarks – CDPB Annual Report 2017

    Change and Challenge

    The last year has again seen a remarkable level of activity for the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, from the excitement of our Van Morrison fund-raiser, to our rapidly expanding international activities and our engagement with ground-breaking digital developments. However across the world, it has been a disturbingly challenging time for those of us committed to democracy and peace building.

    Our EU Debate NI initiative was an enormous success, but while Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU the people of the United Kingdom as a whole voted to leave.  So now we face a new challenge – how to get the best outcome we can for the people of Northern Ireland – and CDPB is making its contribution to the thinking necessary in London, Dublin, Belfast and Brussels.

    On its own Brexit would have been a major challenge, but the elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the second in less than a year, were another watershed.  For the first time since partition in a province-wide election the unionist parties saw their majority melting away, and instead of the election enabling a return to a functioning Assembly and Executive, it resulted in more uncertainty.  Unless agreement can be reached by the Northern Ireland parties before the end of June, the snap Westminster General Election may well be followed by yet another Assembly Election in the autumn, and neither of these contests is likely to improve relationships at the top political level nor bring a clear resolution of the problems.

    Our on-going community programmes like Music Unite continue to do excellent work, but we are faced with the same financial challenges as others in the public and community sectors largely because the absence of a functioning Executive makes significant resource decisions impossible.  We have been cooperating with others, and especially with British Council, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in April 2018, and if our plans come to fruition we hope that we will be celebrating in the context of more hurdles overcome in the Peace Process and new lessons learnt.

    Whatever the challenges at home, they pale in significance against the global canvas.  While President Santos received the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership of the Colombian Peace Process, and we continue to work with our colleagues there on the implementation of last year’s agreement between the Government and FARC, there is no hiding the difficulties faced from the beginning of the implementation of the accord.  That said, it is one of the few significant peace processes anywhere in the world that is still making progress.  Democracy, peace building, and even truth in the public space have faced serious challenges across the world, not just in the descent into chaos in the wider Middle East, but in the unravelling of the European Project, the loss of by the United States of America of any sense of moral leadership, and the host of other crises and conflicts that have arisen on land and sea and in cyber space. Nowhere seems immune or entirely safe.

    The Board of CDPB is determined to ensure that we do all we can to contribute to overcoming the problems faced by democracy and peace building at home and abroad, and in addition to internal restructuring we are engaging more closely with our partners, especially the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at based at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford.  We will only be successful if we strengthen our network of relationships.

    I would like to express my personal appreciation to my Board colleagues, not least Liam Maskey who was with us from the start, but has stepped down from the Board for personal reasons.  I also want to note the wonderful work of Conor Houston who continues with us as Programme Director and Consultant but as his reputation has grown he is unsurprisingly in demand from many other sources, not least with his appointment as a Governor of the Irish Times Trust – congratulations Conor.

    Most of all of course, I am joined by my Board colleagues in expressing our deepest appreciation and gratitude to our CEO, Eva Grosman.  She carries a prodigious work load with irrepressible charm, extraordinary energy, and a serious and profound commitment to all the causes which the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building was founded to promote.  All of you who know anything of CDPB, know how fortunate we are to have Eva, and as you read in this report about the work of CDPB over the past year, you will see the positive signs of Eva’s engagement in every single activity and project.

    In this difficult and uncertain time you will be encouraged by what it is possible to achieve, and I hope that we can depend on you to work with us in making the next twelve months a better one for democracy and peace building.

    John, Lord Alderdice

    You can download CDPB Annual Report 2017 HERE.

     

    Passing the Baton

    Lord Alderdice Blog: Why has this generation dropped the baton?

    On the long and winding road of the Northern Ireland Peace Process the most important lesson we learned was that such intractable, violent, political problems were a result of disturbed historic relationships between communities of people.

    The three key sets of relationships upon which the negotiations and subsequent institutions were based were between Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists; between the people, North and South, in Ireland; and between Britain and Ireland.

    So long as we kept focussed on addressing these historic, disturbed relationships and realized that changes to constitutions, institutions, policing and the administration of justice, protections for individual and group rights, and social and economic development, were all instruments to build better relationships rather than ends in themselves, we continued to move forward, and indeed had something important to contribute to others who had similarly been mired in intractable conflict.

    We had learned some lessons from the European post-war experience where the French and Germans realized that the alternative to endless cyclical violence was building better relations, and they embarked on the European Project starting with the European Coal and Steel Community and eventually arriving at the European Union.

    So why are things going so badly wrong, both for Europe and for Northern Ireland?

    It would be tempting to assume that this was simply the consequence of the next generation forgetting about the horrors of war, taking peace for granted and confusing the instruments of peace-building with the purpose of peace-making.

    The purpose of the European Project was not to create the euro and the free movement of people, goods, capital and services, or even to ensure a seat at the top table of global affairs for European politicians.

    These were some of the instruments for achieving the purpose, but the purpose itself was peace in Europe.

    When in recent elections I tried to persuade my Liberal colleagues to focus on the purpose instead of the instruments, they could not see what I was getting at, because they were too caught up in the game of political party rivalry to appreciate the central significance of inter-communal relations.

    In Northern Ireland it was sometimes thought that if only we could change the individual leaders we could resolve the problems.

    Leaders are leaders for so long as they represent as well as lead their communities, and our problems were not only about individual leaders, whether they were women or men, but about their contribution to the relationships between the communities they lead.

    This year we mark 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg and triggered the Protestant Reformation. This new way of thinking did not bring peace, but the Wars of Religion in Europe. The Renaissance had started in Italy, however it was Germany that saw the birth of the Reformation and when the Enlightenment followed it had different impacts in Northern and Southern Europe. The culture of the North and South are not the same.

    These communities have different ways of what Heidegger called ‘Being-in-the-World’, and what is true of Europe is also the case in Ireland. It is not only a question of identity and allegiance; there are also cultural differences.  So when John Hume said that the Germans could still be Germans and the French could still be French, but both could be Europeans, he was only partly right.

    Unless a new European consciousness or culture developed, the deep and dangerous fault-line that long preceded the Reformation would remain between the north and the south.   In truth there was a need for a new shared culture to be born, and the focus on the instruments instead of the purpose was a distraction from this crucial task.

    With the Enlightenment came an appreciation of the opportunities created by Human Rationality, and extraordinary progress followed in science and technology, medicine and public health, government, politics and human well-being.

    Germany was the most educated country in the world in the early twentieth century and the Second World War showed us that rationality alone was not enough to contain human aggression. The result was a focus on Human Rights, recognized since at least the French and American Revolutions but now promoted across the world by the United Nations.

    What the global deterioration of recent times has demonstrated is that Human Rationality and Human Rights are not enough. We need to add Human Relationships to our social understanding and engagement.

    Complexity science, systems theory, large group psychology and cultural evolution all point in this direction, and the practical politics of the Northern Ireland Peace Process actually showed how it could be done.

    However the insistence that Unionists and Nationalists could continue to simply follow their traditional politico-cultural routes and all would be well, was misguided. A relay race is not just about handing over a baton, it is also about continually moving forward. The next generation of politicians need not just to try to maintain what has been handed to them, but to build upon the recognition of the central significance of communal relationships and appreciate that this requires an evolution in our communal ways of ‘being-in-the-world’.

    Instead of grasping this understanding, seizing the baton, and running the next stretch of the relay, the new generation of political leaders in Europe, and in Northern Ireland, seem to think that they can implement the rules without addressing the relationships; without making positive changes in their community’s way of ‘being-in-the-world’.

    They have dropped the baton.

    Can it be picked up again? Yes, but only if they realize that they have dropped it, and only if all sides are seized of the need to leave some old ways behind. You cannot win the race if you keep going back to the starting line, much less if you retreat to the unchanging rooms of your own team.